Ronnie O’Sullivan has urged Shaun Murphy to “go and get a job” following his outburst over the inclusion of amateur players in the UK Championship.
2008 UK Champion Murphy suffered a shock 6-5 defeat at the hands of 19-year-old Si Jiahui in the opening round, and blasted: “I am going to sound like a grumpy old man but that young man shouldn’t be in the tournament.
“I feel extremely hard done by that I have lost to someone who shouldn’t even be in the building.
“I don’t know why we as a sport allow amateurs to compete in professional tournaments. This is our livelihood. This is our living. We are self-employed individuals and not contracted sportsmen. We don’t play for a team.
“He played like a man who does not have a care in the world, because he does not have a care in the world. It is not fair, it is not right.”
Seven-time UK Champion O’Sullivan, who defeated amateur top-up Michael White 6-3 in his opener on Wednesday, had some harsh words for rival Murphy in his post-match press conference.
O’Sullivan said: “I hope it gets worse, honestly. I hope it gets worse for them. They better start looking for a job if they don’t like it.
“I drew a line under it a long time ago. I can change what I do, that’s what I’m saying to Murphy, go and get a job, do something else, play snooker for fun because you’re going to have loads more of that.
“Get your head around it, you’ve got choices to make. Five or six years ago I made a real conscious effort to play for fun and just enjoy it, I went and got a job and play this for a hobby.
“It’s alright playing it as a hobby, if I had to play it as me living, I’d be like Shaun Murphy. In bits.”
O’Sullivan, who has openly criticised the overall strength in-depth of the professional tour in recent years, added: “You’ll never hear me talk like that because it’s a hobby, but when it means something to you then it can hurt.
“I don’t care. I’ll play amateurs, women, referees, anyone, I don’t care. I feel like the amateur playing now, you have to get in that mindset because it’s better that way.
“I remember being an amateur playing a pro, Willie Thorne playing a 14-year-old me, it was embarrassing for him to lose to me, so I know what it feels like to be a favourite and to lose but that’s just how it is.
“Just got to get on with it, enjoy it, keep smiling, it’s all good.”